Email this Twitter this Delicious this More choices

Mobile Networks Featured Article

Motorola Awarded $50.6 Million to Build Wireless Network in San Francisco

By Erin Harrison, Senior Editor

Communications giant Motorola (News - Alert) Inc. was among several companies to be awarded millions in government funding as the Obama administration announced $1.8 billion in new broadband stimulus grants and loans. Motorola received a $50.6 million award to build a new wireless-broadband network in the San Francisco area for police, firefighters and other public safety officials.  

According to Motorola officials, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration grant will be funding the Bay Area Wireless Enhanced Broadband (BayWEB) program through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), which provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure to connect “community anchor institutions” such as schools, libraries, hospitals, and public safety facilities. The standards-based Public Safety subsystem will utilize next generation communications, Long Term Evolution (LTE (News - Alert)) technology operating on 700 MHz frequencies to provide mobile broadband service to public safety first responders, company officials said.

Greg Brown (News - Alert), CEO of Motorola Solutions, said that the BayWEB project will directly address the many challenges that public safety faces in the Bay Area by providing first responders with a hardened public safety network that will be available in emergencies, natural disasters and catastrophic events, in addition to providing community anchor institutions, business and residential end users with affordable Internet access services.

The program involves a multi-jurisdiction and multi-disciplinary approach to interoperability, and includes communications capabilities for first responders and public safety professionals, as well as all other government services including public works, transportation agencies, and critical infrastructure organizations. BayWEB is a component of the Bay Area Regional Interoperable Communications System (BayRICS). BayRICS also consists of a P25 voice system, microwave system, and information sharing applications.

“When a major earthquake or disaster strikes next in the Bay Area, a regional, secure and dedicated communications network for our first responders will literally save lives, prevent further damage and protect public health and safety,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. The Bay Area will now be one of the nation’s first regions to deploy this innovative emergency broadband communications network, Newsom said.

“This funding will help build 25,000 miles of new broadband networks,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told reporters while announcing the grants, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Motorola had sales of $22 billion in 2009.

The awards are the latest in a series of Obama-administration grants, which have totaled about $7 billion in stimulus funding to improve broadband availability and speed across the country.

Federal officials announced 94 grants for projects in 37 states, including grants to satellite companies that offer limited-speed broadband service. The broadband grant program was enacted as part of the larger stimulus legislation, which passed in February 2009.

The Commerce Department still has about $1 billion in funding to hand out by the end of September while the Department of Agriculture has $500 million left of its broadband funds, the Journal said.

Erin Harrison is a senior editor with TMCnet, primarily covering telecom expense management, politics and technology and Web 2.0. She serves as senior editor for TMC's (News - Alert) print publications, including "Internet Telephony", "Customer Interaction Solutions", "Unified Communications" and "NGN" magazines. Erin also oversees production of TMCnet's weekly iPhone (News - Alert) e-Newsletter. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison